FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Banker Boyz Blues

In Miami it is not considered polite or politic to criticize resident and former governor Jeb Bush, whose entire career was fueled by the mad housing boom and its campaign money that is now crashed to cinders. Bush spoke in Chicago last week  to the Mortgage Bankers Association annual convention.

These days, the speechifying of Jeb! can be interpreted for the direction of the Republican message machine. What was reported was that Bush urged the audience to climb out of their fetal position and go on the offensive. “Who better to advocate a policy to get us out of this mess?” Bush implored the same businesses that shipwrecked the economy on the reefs from which scavengers now ply their trades.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, with their taxpayer trillions, sent nearly two hundred fifty executives to Chicago where they rubbed shoulders with the same mortgage rating agencies and mortgage execution companies that used speed in execution as the housing market inflated and speed in execution as the housing market collapsed to “move product” while tens of millions of Americans suffered the consequences. Speed in execution means diminished or eviscerated regulations; one of the GOP’s chief goals whether for the environment or for zoning and development.

Jeb Bush is an elder statesman in the Republican Party these days. Why, is a mystery. On the other hand, who can deny the magic tricks at the heart of American politics tied to campaign finance that Bush mastered and re-materialized as the destruction of so much equity and hope. That is what the Occupy Wall Street’ers in Manhattan, Miami and elsewhere are protesting. Corporations are too powerful. Corporations are NOT people. But Jeb Bush (and his chosen presidential candidate, Mitt Romney) believe otherwise, with the US Supreme Court at their backs.

“Business has gotten way too timid,” said the former governor whose first consulting contract was with Lehman Brothers, the biggest pusher of mortgage derivative debt to the state of Florida. Bush continued with the banker boyz in Chicago, “The natural inclination is to cover. I would encourage you to stand up.” Stand up to the protesters, hinted Bush without also mentioning that between Enron and Lehman, his appointees cost Florida and money held in trust for policemen, firemen, and state and municipal employees nearly a billion dollars.

There is where the 1933 inaugural speech of Franklin Delano Roosevelt can be mashed with the Wall Street whiners and the renewed competition for its campaign cash by both Democrats and Republicans. Roosevelt, speaking to America at the height of the Depression, condemned an earlier generation of bankers; “Stripped of the lure of profit by which to induce our people to follow their false leadership, they have resorted to exhortations, pleading tearfully for restored confidence. They know only the rules of a generation of self-seekers.”

It bears pointing out that the same protections advocated by Roosevelt and built up through the safety net protecting banks, American business and consumers are the target of the GOP, now swept up in a kind of madness aimed against the victims. It is partly President Obama’s fault– he neither presided during the incipient stages of the housing bubble nor had the acuity to understand the nature of its creators — that he cannot say today as President Roosevelt did then, “The money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization… there must be an end to a conduct in banking and in business which too often has given to a sacred trust the likeness of callous and selfish wrongdoing. Small wonder that confidence languishes, for it thrives only on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection, on unselfish performance; without them it cannot live.”

In Chicago, Jeb Bush faced the money changers and what he told them was in effect; put more tricks up your sleeve, more pigeons to fly from top hats, more beautiful women to saw in two, to materialize wholesome and Christian with the swipe of a magic wand.

Magic tricks like this: “One of the things that we’ve got to do is to address problems straight on and deal with them in a way that helps us meet goals. And so I want to talk about … one goal and a problem. The goal is, everybody who wants to own a home has got a shot at doing so… And so what are the barriers that we can deal with here in Washington? Well, probably the single barrier to first-time homeownership is high down payments. People take a look at the down payment, they say that’s too high, I’m not buying. They may have the desire to buy, but they don’t have the wherewithal to handle the down payment. We can deal with that. And so I’ve asked Congress to fully fund an American Dream down payment fund which will help a low-income family to qualify to buy, to buy. (Applause.) … (the problem is) that the rules are too complex. People get discouraged by the fine print on the contracts. They take a look and say, well, I’m not so sure I want to sign this. There’s too many words. (Laughter.) There’s too many pitfalls. So one of the things that the Secretary is going to do is he’s going to simplify the closing documents and all the documents that have to deal with homeownership.” (Bob Martinez, then secretary of HUD, would soon become a US Senator from Florida succeeded now by Jeb Bush protege, Marco Rubio.)

Those words, from a June 2002 speech by President George W. Bush,  inspired the worst economic crash since the Great Depression. At the time Jeb Bush was governor of Florida, the same Jeb Bush who says, though a dismal decade has passed, that what is hindering the economic recovery are “regulations” and that the banker boyz need to get up out of their Fox Holes. Occupy Wall Street, take note.

Alan Farago is conservation chair of Friends of the Everglades. He can be reached at: afarago@bellsouth.net

 

Exclusively in the new print issue of CounterPunch

 

One of the Greatest Descriptions of Farm Work Ever Written— Don’t miss Frank Bardacke’s marvelous account from the California fields. ALSO Linn Washington Jr. on the “Black Backlash Against Obama.”

 

Order your subscription today and get
CounterPunch by email for only $35 per year.

 

 

 

More articles by:

Alan Farago is president of Friends of the Everglades and can be reached at afarago@bellsouth.net

January 24, 2019
David Rosen
Roe: 47 Years and Counting
Joseph Essertier
Warmongering Over Warmbier: US Hypocrisy and a Double Standard on North Korea
Glenn Sacks
L.A. Teachers Strike Dispatch #9: What We Won
M. G. Piety
An Essay on Grief
Karen J. Greenberg
Creating a Global Lost Generation
Jesse Jackson
America Has Lost Its Common Sense
Noa Mendelsohn Aviv
Rebranding Canada’s Solitary Confinement Policy Doesn’t Change What It Is
Ramzy Baroud
False ‘Victories’: Is the PA Using the ‘State of Palestine’ to Remain in Power?
Binoy Kampmark
Eyeing the White House: the Democratic Field
Russell Mokhiber
Single Payer Gold Standard HR 676 Rest in Peace
David Swanson
The World Will End in Fire
David Macaray
Celebrity Bullshit
Dean Baker
How Worried Should We be If China’s Growth Rate Slows to 6.4%?
Wim Laven
What Makes America Great?
January 23, 2019
Paul Street
Time for the U.S. Yellow Vests
Charles McKelvey
Popular Democracy in Cuba
Kenn Orphan
The Smile of Class Privilege
Leonard Peltier
The History Behind Nate Phillips’ Song
Kenneth Surin
Stalled Brexit Goings On
Jeff Cohen
The System’s Falling Apart: Were the Dogmatic Marxists Right After All?
Cira Pascual Marquina
Chavez and the Continent of Politics: a Conversation with Chris Gilbert
George Ochenski
Turning Federal Lands Over to the States and Other Rightwing Fantasies
George Wuerthner
Forest Service Ignores Science to Justify Logging
Raouf Halaby
In the Fray: Responses to Covington Catholic High
Kim C. Domenico
No Saviors But Ourselves; No Disobedience Without Deeper Loyalty
Ted Rall
Jury Trial? You Have No Right!
Michael Doliner
The Pros and Cons of Near Term Human Extinction
Lee Ballinger
Musical Unity
Elliot Sperber
The Ark Builders
January 22, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
On the Brink of Brexit: the Only Thing Most People Outside Westminster Know About Brexit is That It’s a Mess
Raouf Halaby
The Little Brett Kavanaughs from Covington Catholic High
Dean Baker
The Trump Tax Cut is Even Worse Than They Say
Stanley L. Cohen
The Brazen Detention of Marzieh Hashemi, America’s Newest Political Prisoner
Karl Grossman
Darth Trump: From Space Force to Star Wars
Glenn Sacks
Teachers Strike Dispatch #8: New Independent Study Confirms LAUSD Has the Money to Meet UTLA’s Demands
Haydar Khan
The Double Bind of Human Senescence
Alvaro Huerta
Mr. President, We Don’t Need Your Stinking Wall
Howard Lisnoff
Another Slugger from Louisville: Muhammad Ali
Nicole Patrice Hill – Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
The Scarlet “I”: Climate Change, “Invasive” Plants and Our Culture of Domination
Jonah Raskin
Disposable Man Gets His Balls Back
Thomas Knapp
Now More Than Ever, It’s Clear the FBI Must Go
January 21, 2019
W. T. Whitney
New US Economic Attack Against Cuba, Long Threatened, May Hit Soon
Jérôme Duval
Macronist Repression Against the People in Yellow Vests
Dean Baker
The Next Recession: What It Could Look Like
Eric Mann
All Hail the Revolutionary King: Martin Luther King and the Black Revolutionary Tradition
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail